In the last century, scientists in India have made great progress. But what’s most impressive is that the women scientists have been equally responsible for this success. In a country like India, where women aren’t often encouraged to pursue careers in Science and Mathematics, they have managed to leave a mark and inspire many others to follow suit. Here are some of the brightest women scientists in the country:

 

 

Paramjit Khurana

Paramjit Khurana is a researcher at the Department Of Plant Molecular Biology in Delhi University. She is working on modified mulberry seeds, which will soon be out in the market. Her main research focuses on plant genomics. The strains of wheat, rice and mulberry developed by her; are drought resistant and have higher UV radiation capacity and can withstand higher stress levels and heat. According to her, the biggest problems people in her field face are in getting grants by the government.

 

Rajani A. Bhisey

Specializing in the field of Environmental Carcinogenesis and Molecular Epidemiology of Cancer, Occupational Hazards, Bhisey was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Zoologists of India 2007. A Member of Monograph Program Panel, International Agency for Research on Cancer on Cancer, Lyon, France, she is credited with introducing courses in Cancer Biology and Genetic Toxicology for Master of Science students at the Cancer Research Institute.

 

Maharani Chakravorty       

A molecular biologist, Chakravorty organized the first laboratory course on recombinant DNA techniques in Asia and Far East in 1981. A recipient of numerous awards and honours, she became the first Indian to be trained in the DNA-RNA hybridization technique at an International Cell Research Organisation (ICRO)-organized course at Naples. Her major scientific contributions have been in the fields of host-virus interaction and genetic engineering.

 

Sulochana Gadgil

Gadgil is an oceanographer and meteorologist whose research led to the discovery of a basic feature of the sub-seasonal variation in the monsoon cloud bands.  In collaboration with the farmers she derived farming strategies which are designed based on the rainfall variability of different regions in India. She established that the monsoon is not a gigantic land-sea breeze but instead is an indicator of the seasonal migration of a planetary scale system which is seen over non-monsoonal regions too.

 

Mitali Mukerji

Mitali Mukerji , is a Principal Scientist at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi. Her research mainly aims at determining the implications of human genomics on personalized medicine. This would further lead to identifying triggers for disease and their management. She told India Today, “Every day is a challenge in the field of scientific research.”

 

[Picture Courtesy: Hindu Business Line]

Charusita Chakravarty

Charusita Chakravarty is a professor of Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi since 1999. She is currently working on a project which would help understand the changes that occur in the DNA protein if molecular changes are introduced. This would highly help study liquids and related studies. She believes that the biggest drawbacks of the field in India are- the lack of funds for research in science and poor infrastructure.

 

Qamar Rahman

Working in the fields of Nanotoxicology, PulmonaryBiochemistry and Geno Toxicity, Rahman is internationally known for her work on asbestosis, the effects of slate dust and other domestic and environmental pollution particles and means for improving occupational health. She is also the first Indian to be an awarded honorary doctorate from the 600 year old Rostock University.

 

Prajval Shastri

Shastri is an astrophysicist at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore and is a member of the International Astronomical Union and the Indian Physics Association. She specializes in the area of phenomenology of active galaxies driven by supermassive blackholes using multi-wavelength observations ranging from radio to X-ray wavelengths.

 

Aditi Pant

Aditi Pant was a part of the Indian expedition to Antarctica in 1983 and became the first Indian woman to visit Antarctica. Having done her PhD from Westfield College, London University, she returned to India to join the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa. Pant has been honored with the Antarctica award with Dr. Jaya Naithani and Dr. Kanwal Vilku by the government of India for her contributions to the Antarctic program.

 

Usha Barwale-Zehr

She is the Joint Director of Research at Mahyco (Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co., Ltd.) based in Jalna. Her company was the first to produce genetically modified food- Bt brinjal; which she had been working on since 2000. Her company however is facing problems in getting official clearance. The government has put a hold on the product for now.